#102 Atlanta Falconsvs.#101 New England Patriots
Written by Adam Rauzino
New England Patriots (16-2; 15-3 ATS; 8-10 O/U) vs. Atlanta Falcons (13-5; 12-6 ATS; 15-2 O/U)
NFL Super Bowl 51: Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 6:30pm EST
Line: New England -3
The New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51 on the fifth of February from NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. The Falcons defeated the Seahawks and Packers to reach the Super Bowl, and the Patriots beat the Texans and Steelers to pave their way to the big game. These teams last met in 2013 with the Patriots coming away with a 30-23 road win.
The New England Patriots will be aiming for their fifth Super Bowl win in franchise history and second in their last three seasons. The Patriots powered their way through the AFC divisional and Championship games, stomping the Steelers 36-17 in the AFC Championship. Tom Brady was tremendous in the win over Pittsburgh, accumulating 384 passing yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The four-time Super Bowl champion has now tallied 671 passing yards with five touchdowns with two interceptions in the Patriots two playoff games. Brady now has a incredible 33:4 TD to INT ratio in 14 games played this season. Watch for receiver Chris Hogan in this contest as he was incredible in the win over the Steelers, making nine grabs for 180 yards. Hogan played well in the AFC Championship as well, collecting 95 passing yards. Julian Edelman was also outstanding in the win over Pittsburgh, collecting 118 receiving yards and has now tallied 255 receiving yards in two playoff games. Hogan interestingly received 12 targets compared to 10 to Edelman in the win over the Steelers. The Patriots rushed for 57 yards as a team against the Steelers, with LaGarrette Blount leading the way with 47 yards. Tight end Ron Gronkowski had back surgery last month and will not suit up for the Super Bowl. New England finished the regular season with the third ranked offense, and are now averaging 28.3 points per game after 18 games played this season.
The Patriots have been terrific defensively throughout the regular season and the playoffs. They did a great job containing Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown last week, and caught a break with the injury to Le’Veon Bell. The Patriots are now allowing an average of 16.2 points per game after 18 games, and finished with the number one ranked defense in the NFL in the regular season.
The Atlanta Falcons will aim for their first Super Bowl title in franchise history and first Super Bowl appearance since 1998. Atlanta has simply dominated the opposition in both their playoff victories, defeating the Seahawks 36-20, and crushed the Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship game. Matt Ryan was phenomenal in the win over the Packers, throwing for 392 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, and also rushed for another touchdown. The 31-year old quarterback has now accumulated 730 passing yards with a dazzling 7:0 TD to INT ratio in his two playoff games this year. Julio Jones was outstanding in the win over Green Bay as well, making nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Jones has now accumulated 247 receiving yards with three touchdowns in two playoff games, and will be matched up against Malcolm Butler in this one. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been splitting the carries throughout the playoffs, with Freeman leading the way with 87 rushing yards over his last two games, and Coleman right behind him with 86 yards. Falcons center Alex Mack is dealing with a sprained ankle, but will play in the Super Bowl. Atlanta finished the regular season with the number two ranked offense, and are scoring an average of 34.4 points per game through 18 games this year.
The Falcons may not be a strong defensive team, however they have played solid defense in their two playoff games. They were able to hold a red hot Green Bay offense to 21 points, and have made three interceptions through their two playoff games. Atlanta is allowing an average of 24.8 points per game after 18 games this season.
The New England Patriots are:
The Atlanta Falcons are:
I am taking the Patriots in this matchup. The Falcons do not have a good defense and I think Tom Brady is going to feast on the Falcons secondary. The Falcons have allowed a total of five passing touchdowns in their two playoff games, and finished the regular season with the 28th ranked pass defense, so I expect Tom Brady to have his way. New England on the other hand, finished the regular season with the number one ranked defense in the NFL, and they feature a strong secondary. New England has only allowed a total of two passing touchdowns and have made four interceptions in their two playoff games, so if anyone can slow down Matt Ryan it is the New England Patriots. I also have a lot of trust in cornerback Malcolm Butler covering Julio Jones, and I think he can contain Jones, which will be a key to victory. Both teams will score points, but the Patriots have the better defense, so I am very confident they can win this by more than a field goal. Tom Brady has already won four Super Bowls, along with three Super Bowl MVPs, and he has shown he knows how to win the big game.
The Falcons and Patriots both feature elite quarterbacks who accumulate a ton of passing yards. The Falcons will not be able to slow down Tom Brady, plus the over is 6-1 in the Patriots last seven playoff games. The Patriots do have a great defense, but the Falcons will still score points in this one, and the over is 5-0 in Atlanta’s last 5 games against a team with a winning record. The over has hit in both games for both teams in this year’s playoffs, and it should hit again in this one. The Patriots averaged 35 points per game over their two playoff games and the Falcons averaged 40, so I think the over is a terrific pick.
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Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about about various sports as well as personal finance. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.